My oven/stove is on the fritz right now, so I've been doing either quick salads or steaming veggies in the microwave. I've also dragged out my crock pot (good grief, that thing was dusty!) and have been making soups. My favorite right now is a lentil kale soup from WW. Here's a link: http://www.everydaymaven.com/2011/crockpot-lentil-soup/
It's only me here in my little apartment, so I'll cook up a big batch, let it cool, and then portion each serving out into ziploc baggies and freeze. When I'm in a soup mood, I'll take out one bag and defrost in the microwave.
I'm thinking of checking the library to see if they have this on hand. The previews on Amazon looked interesting: lots of explanation and information, some illustrations, and a couple of variations of a dish right at the bottom of the main recipe. I've looked at a few of the other How to Cook Everything editions and I've liked the dishes I've made from them.
For me, meal planning is key. I'll look through a couple of cookbooks and decide what I want for the week before I go out shopping. When I get back, I try to group things in the fridge according to meals so when I'm ready to cook, I can just grab and go. It might take more time on Grocery Day to do, but getting your prep-work done beforehand on one day saves you time for the rest of the week.